Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
FILE - Elder Robert D. Hales speaks during the 184th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on April 5, 2014.

SALT LAKE CITY — Following Sunday's passing of Elder Robert D. Hales, a member of LDS Church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, tributes and expressions came in from throughout Utah and across the country.

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"Elder Hales provided a model of servant-leadership for all of us to follow. He was a true disciple of Jesus Christ, putting the welfare of others before self and the kingdom of God above all. He was gracious and loving, thoughtful and kind. In all things, Elder Hales exemplified humility, which was the hallmark of his life. While millions of us grieve his passing, we take peace and comfort in knowing that his service continued on the other side of the veil."

— Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah

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"Jeanette and I join millions of people around the world in mourning the passing, and celebrating the life, of my friend Elder Robert D. Hales. I will always remember the honor of working alongside Elder Hales in efforts to lift and enhance some of our local institutions. He was always friendly. He was a man with no guile. I consider him an extraordinarily humble and spiritual leader. The state of Utah and its citizens are better because of his example and his personal ministry. He will be missed but not forgotten. My prayers are with his loving wife, Mary, and the Hales family at this time."

— Gov. Gary Herbert

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"I'm saddened to learn of the passing of Elder Hales. Elder Hales led by example. He was a true example of thoughtful and compassionate service, putting the good of others above self. He was a role model of humble, thoughtful and kind leadership. As many of us mourn his passing, we also take comfort knowing his life and service continues in the eternities."

— Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams

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"For Robert D. Hales, leadership and followership were one and the same. Elder Hales walked away from success as a leader in business to commit his life, as a follower of Jesus Christ, to the business of saving souls. His soft replies to harsh voices, his gentle invitations to improve and his steely determination to fulfill his duty stand as a witness to the greatness of the man and leave a pattern for leaders and followers to emulate for generations to come."

— Sutherland Institute President Boyd Matheson

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“Elder Robert D. Hales was a great leader not only in the spiritual sense, but also in the business world. He was a businessman before he was called to full-time church service. His strong principles of doing what is right carried through his leadership and continued throughout his life. The Salt Lake Chamber and Utah’s business community extend our heartfelt condolences to the Hales family. We will miss this great champion of the business community.”

— Salt Lake Chamber President/CEO Lane Beattie

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"Elder Hales was a kind and gentle soul, and his wisdom will endure long after his passing. The Bennett family offers condolences to his wife and family during this difficult time."

— Jim Bennett, United Utah Party congressional candidate and son of late Sen. Bob Bennett

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"Like many others, Dr. Allen learned of Elder Hales passing while attending the final session of general conference. She and her camp extend their deepest condolences to his family. She knows that Elder Hales' words of wisdom will be missed in the LDS community."

— Daniel Friend, spokesman for Dr. Kathie Allen, Democratic congressional candidate

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"Elder Hales was a deeply caring, humble and devoted man, and spent his life in the service of others. We will all miss his wisdom."

— Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah

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"The passing of Elder Hales on this general conference Sunday is a humbling reminder of how much we need and come to depend on the encouragement and counsel of spiritual leaders, and how quickly we feel their absence. Our condolences to the Hales family and a sincere expression of gratitude for a life of selfless service."

— Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper

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"Elder Robert D. Hales was a valiant disciple of Jesus Christ, a true advocate for religious liberty and a champion for civil dialogue in society. His leadership will be missed, and his messages of hope, faith and duty will continually resound in the hearts of millions of members of the church and his family."

— Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah

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"I was saddened to learn today of the passing of Elder Robert D. Hales. The University of Utah has always been proud to claim Elder Hales as one of its own. As an alumnus of the U, he was a wonderful advocate for the university and the value of higher education as a way to strengthen society. We are grateful for his service on the university’s National Advisory Council and our state Board of Regents. He was rightly beloved throughout the world for his selfless service to the LDS Church. On behalf of the entire university, our thoughts are with his beloved Mary and the entire Hales family.”

— University of Utah President David W. Pershing

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"I'll miss the wisdom of Elder Hales. I wish the best for his family and loved ones."

— Provo Mayor John Curtis

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“Elder Hales was a powerful and yet humble leader who blessed the lives of millions of people. I will miss his humor and spiritual insights, as many others will as well.”

— Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah